What if we followed every, “Hi,” with a, “How are you?” What if we actually looked them in the eye and listened?
People who’ve helped me grow the most, family and friends who’ve challenged me by the way they live their lives, are ones who’ve loved without condition.
The ones who picked up something at the store because it looked like me, made me cookies just because, called to check in when I came to mind, or grabbed water for my pregnant self when they went up to the bar…
“Here. I grabbed a Gatorade for you in case you were thirsty.”
This was the first thing my now husband said to make me really see the kind of man he is. It really was no big deal to him who, when he grabbed a drink at the warm Husker Spring Game in our college days, came back with another for his friend.
But, for me? Who was coming off a breakup and attending the Spring Game with him, a fellow Resident Assistant, and his friend over Easter weekend when everyone else had gone home to celebrate?
That Gatorade was more than just a Gatorade.
It was spontaneous kindness that really struck me when I was at a hard spot, that really brought to light the man he was, the father he would be.
Unexpected acts of kindness do that to us, don’t they?
More than meal deliveries after babies or flowers on Mother’s Day – which, don’t get me wrong, are AWESOME – unexpected acts of kindness catch us off guard with gratitude that’s hard to forget.
I mean, I’m still talking about that Gatorade from some 13 years ago. 🤷🏼♀️
They strike us because they are undeserved. They make us feel included, thought of and loved and Lord knows we all need more of that right now.
Studies have shown giving random acts of kindness has just as much of a good effect as receiving them.
Being kind has been linked to being more happy and content. It reduces stress, boosts our immune systems, and helps reduce anger, anxiety, and depression. Being kind promotes gratitude, empathy, and compassion; which in turn, helps us feel more connected to each other.
And, I don’t know about you, but we all need a little more of feeling connected right now, amirite?
We all need to feel less alienated than we already are. To be reminded we have more in common than we don’t and are a part of a community, that we belong.
Still, so many things get in the way
Will we come on too strong? Will we seem desperate? Will they walk all over us after this?
Mother Teresa said, “If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. The good you do today will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.“
The world needs your kindness right now.
Did you hear that? Let me say it again:
The world needs your kindness.
What if we didn’t let our fears of how it will come off hold us back from being kind?
What if we delivered a meal for the sake of doing it, called someone to check in when they come to mind?
What if we dropped off flowers at a friend’s house or bought coffee for a stranger in the drive-thru line just because?
What if our kids left sidewalk chalk notes for neighbors or we gave a dinner gift certificate to a couple we knew was facing a hard time?
What if we asked, “How are you?” and actually listened?
In this indefinite quarantine, as we’re confined to our homes, craving silence like never before, and stressed school, activities, and life as we knew it will never return, unexpected kindness is such a gift.
Stepping outside ourselves – lifting each other up, offering a helping hand, a virtual shoulder to cry on – reminds us we’re all in this together.
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”Romans 12:10
Random acts of kindness are what we all need right now. They’re good for the recipient…and they’re just as good for you.